Actuary: The Movie might not have as much appeal as The Wolf of Wall Street or The Social Network when it comes to box office hits, but a career in insurance can certainly still be exciting

By Insurance DataLab cofounder Matt Scott


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Over the years, many graduates have been drawn to the financial benefits of a career in investment banking or the allure of tech startups, no doubt fuelled by the Hollywood dream of making their millions from the comfort of their university dorm rooms.

But insurance, for the main part, does not have this appeal.

For many outside the industry, insurance is seen as dull, uninventive and stuck in the past. How many people would flock to the cinema to see a biopic on the life of an actuary?

But having worked in the industry as a journalist for more than a decade – and before that as a pensions actuary – I know this view to be patently untrue.

Indeed, when I left Insurance Times to go and edit a management magazine I was convinced my work would be more diverse and more exciting.

Instead, I was left missing the variety that the insurance industry offers and felt unchallenged and uninspired.

Less than a year later and I was back in insurance, much to the amusement of one particular communications director who had, in no uncertain terms, told me I was making a mistake to even consider leaving.

Living the dream

But insurance needs to do much more to sell the dream and espouse all that the industry has to offer.

The insurance industry can offer so many options to young people, whether that be the day-to-day operations of handling claims, the mathematical and scientific roles of underwriting, or the fast-paced world of insurtechs, to name just a few.

This variety is also why so many people who do join the industry have stayed for decades. Just ask Zurich chief executive Tim Bailey, who started as a graduate to rise right to the top job.

Even my own career path has seen me drawn back to the big lights of UK general insurance after I first left Insurance Times – coming back to the industry first as a freelancer, then as an in-house journo and now as the cofounder of my own market intelligence platform, Insurance DataLab.

This career has seen me speak to everyone – from straight out of uni graduates to global chief executives and everyone inbetween. I have developed research reports and analysed cyber policy wordings, stood on stage to speak about motor claims trends and briefed the BBC on the latest regulatory changes.

And I can honestly say, after all that, that the insurance industry has about as much variety and interest as any career out there.

With all that in mind, I’m still not sure Actuary: The Movie would be the biggest box office hit.